Tuesday, August 19, 2008

my MSI Wind; i'll take a triple please (video)

2008 sure seems to be the year of the netbook/ultra-portable laptop. 

 Asus was the first manufacturer, founding father/mother of the new and now very popular netbook category.  Asus introduced its Eee PC in late 2007 with the 701 based model.  Following the huge success and praise for such a small and affordable sub-notebook, tons of manufacturers began working on their own 'Eee-killer' netbook.

I had purchased an original EeePC 701(w/4GB SSD, Black, Webcam/Mic version) early in 2008 but after using for a month or so i ended up selling it.  The main reasons for selling was its tiny keyboard.  Performance and boot-up times on it were amazing and the form factor was great for such a low price tag. 

After selling my Eeepc to a co-worker, I decided I'd wait this one out a bit more and be a little smarter (ie not impulse buying.. hehe) and wait to see how the Intel Atom based netbooks looked.  HP's Mini Note was tempting but the whole Via cpu not an Intel was a huge factor against it and the reason why I went with my MSI Wind. Keep reading for more details and the video demo!

Quick Specs:

  • 1.6Ghz Atom N270 CPU

  • 1GB onboard DDR2 (expandable up to 2GB total, upgrade does void warranty)

  • 80GB WD Barracuda S-ATA HDD, 5400rpm

  • Intel 950GMA Video w/VGA out, 1024x600 native rez

  • 1.3mb webcam, mic and speakers (tinny though)

  • 3 USB (1powered, right side)

  • Multicard reader (SD, SDHC, MS, MS Pro)

  • Wifi B/G and Bluetooth 2.0

  • 3 Cell Battery

  • OS Shipped: XP Home Edition

The first thing you notice is about the MSI Wind vs the early EeePCs, a sleek and clean rounded design.  The second thing you notice is the nearly full sized keyboard. :)

The main reason why I went with the Wind was the idea of a nearly full sized keyboard in a netbook and the full range of connectivity options/upgrades (ie bt, sata hdd, sdhc/ms reader).  The price isn't bad either at $479 and $499 for the 3cell and 6cell.  However, trying to get one at the moment at that price is a whole different story. :) 


First things first, I don't wear a "I void warranties" shirt for nothing. :P 

So as you may have realized by the above shot that upgrading your HDD and Memory does indeed VOID YOUR WARRANTY. So you've been warned.  I just quickly upraded my hdd to a 250gb hitachi and added a 1GB ddr2 memory stick.

Voila, after unscrewing a few screws and unfastening a few cables, i had a pretty sweet portable rig w/lots of storage and enough memory to keep it moving.

Operating System Setup Time

Ahh, I hate to admit it but I enjoy installing operating systems. Not sure why, but its kind of relaxing (when things work). :) with that said, I decided that I wanted to triple boot my Wind since I had read about people getting OSX up and going fine. Vista shouldn't be a problem since you can usually get most xp drivers to work in Vista by changing them to run in XP SP2 compatibility.

NOTE:  see engadget post/forum board about touchpads being swapped out on newer models being inferior to the synaptics, mine has the synaptics (thank goodness!) 
this is very sad though since i love my wind so far (again has synaptics touchpad).


So here's my end result; a quick video of my triple booting Wind.

[youtube BjJ7JKbUe5c]